Original features

June 18, 2009

Built in a former telephone exchange, Atrium - which, like Tate Modern, has dropped the definite article - houses the Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries and gives the University of Glamorgan the presence it has long desired in Cardiff city centre.

The project, which represents the largest single investment in the university's history, has become a major hub for the creative industries in Wales.

It was completed in just 64 weeks. While the existing building has been refurbished for administration and general-purpose teaching, specialist spaces - such as Atrium's theatre, cinema, television studios, recording and rehearsal rooms - are housed in a purpose-built extension.

The two are linked by an enclosed atrium, known as "the street", which provides a focal point for the facility and a place where students and staff can communicate freely and find inspiration in each other's creative endeavours.

The complex is clad in white composite aluminium rain-screen panels, which are fixed directly to the brickwork in the case of the existing building.

The panels accentuate Atrium's curving double-angled profile and inherent sculptural qualities.

A glazed frontage links the two elements together, while a wall of red St Bees sandstone, sourced from Cumbria, provides a solid base and affords the building a civic quality.

Send any suggestions for this architectural series to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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